14ymedio, Havana, 1 October 2019 — The Cuban opposition is trying to involve more international actors in their struggle this fall. On the one hand, the Cuban Human Rights Observatory (OCDH), based in Madrid, addressed the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, on the eve of his visit to the island in the middle of the month and has asked him to meet with Cuban exiles.
This meeting would be “very useful, even in the face of the new responsibility” awaiting the Chancellor, who will assume the leadership of European diplomacy in November, succeeding the Italian Federica Mogherini. In addition, the OCDH urges Borrell to “receive and listen” in Havana to representatives of opposition groups, “the only way to know the two sides of the current Cuban reality.”
The Observatory, always critical of the relations between Brussels and Havana since the end of the European Union’s Common Position on Cuba, states in its letter: “We strive to understand the concerns and reasons that the EU and its member states may confront in our present and future. We presume that they respond to what they consider best for the Cuban people, but we fail to understand why the Union has suspended its moral judgment in its relations with Cuba, when it has been scrupulously demanding in respect for rights and freedoms with third countries and with their member states.”
“It appears that, for Cubans, a context of repression and limitations on fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the current one, is acceptable to the EU and the Government of Spain. If there really is the political will to help solve the Cuban problem, begin by including all actors of civil society and the opposition, in Cuba and in exile, in initiatives that affect the general interests of our nation. Otherwise, you will simply be favoring spurious interests outside the noble pretensions proclaimed by the EU,” they demand.
The OCDH strongly accuses Spain of being solely interested in its economic revenues for “the emphasis on issues related to Spanish investments in Cuba.” “It is essential not to lower the level of demand to those who must accept that the human dignity and freedoms of all must be respected,” the letter adds.
On Monday, for its part, the Cuban Alliance for Inclusion and the Cuban Women’s Network, issued a letter to Michelle Bachelet in which they ask the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to join their fight.
“You are identified as a powerful voice for the Rights of women and it is on their behalf that we ask you to stand in solidarity with the reality of women who in Cuba want to participate in the public life of our country and we only receive arrests, threats and exclusions of all kinds,” they explain.
The associations, which recently launched the #UnidasPorNuestrosDerechos (United For Our Rights) campaign, which is repressed by the Government, also asked the Cuban president to receive them, just as he did with the Argentine association Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo).
In their letter to Bachelet, and after congratulating her on the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security, which recognizes her as a “permanent fighter for rights and gender equity,” they indicate that Cuba is in a serious crisis and her visit would be valuable. “In your capacity as High Commissioner, to verify this situation and help us find a way to respect the human rights of all Cubans.”
“The independent civil society of Cuba invites you. We wait for you with the faith that your intervention can support our efforts,” they conclude.
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